The Great Debate Between Action and Faith

In high school, the number that adorned my baseball uniform was, forty-one. It was my number. I took possession of it and owned it. It didn’t have any significant meaning at the time, but since has taken on a life of its own.

In college, I became a huge Dave Matthews Band fan, something like twelve shows in four years. Ironically, Dave Matthews has a song called #41 – creative considering it was the 41st song he had written. Through college and beyond, #41 has had a purposeful impact from its melodic tune to its heart-hammering lyrics.

Today I write my 41st blog post.

I thought about the song and about my writing. Is there a nugget of wisdom within that provides us an opportunity to learn?

I think so.

An 18-year old Matt Ham wearing #41


The Vices of Action and Faith

I believe so many of us, including myself, believe that there are two options when moving in the direction of our dreams. Action and Faith rest on opposite ends of the spectrum and as we pursue one, we exclude the other.

1. There’s the active type: We step into our future feverishly hustling on the passions in our heart. If we can out-work and out-produce everyone else, it’s a sure way to the top.

2. There’s the faithful type: With slogans like God will provide or It’s all in God’s hands we patiently wait for a sign. If we are faithful enough, or better yet, if God is who He says He is, then everything we want is at our disposal.

Both are dangerous.

For the active type, we run the risk of exhausting ourselves and our relationships. Once the decision is made, we leverage everything in our path for success. When God doesn’t respond the way we want him to, we resolve to become God.

For the faithful type, we run the risk of missed opportunity and the vice of laziness. We want God to do what we would do if we were God. When things don’t work out in our favor, we blame God.

However, is there a way to combine the two? A more true picture of faith; a true picture of trust.

“I Came in Praying for You”

I love music. It gives us the ability to bask in its tune as we process the melody and lyrics through the lens of our own experience.

My favorite lyric from my favorite DMB song says, “I came in praying for you.” I’m not supposing Dave’s intention for the lyric, but, for me, this line gives me hope in the future. It’s an active hope; a reminder to prayerfully enter as we boldly step into today.

Do you walk into situations prayerfully? Or do you simply happen into what lies ahead?

Suppose you decide to take a different approach. What would that look like?

I recently had a great conversation with my friend and author, Tom Morris. The conversation centered around this exact concept. Tom turned on my internal light switch when he said:

“Most people think faith is this blind walk, eyes closed. However, that allows you to be nudged by so many forces without even seeing it happening. In fact, faith is walking in a certain direction with eyes wide open! We move as we allow ourselves to perceive the world around us and respond in faith.”

As he was sharing these words, I knew I was hearing something profound. And, it directly relates to my interpretation of my favorite line from Dave Matthew’s #41“I came in praying for you.”

Do you step into your future with an active faith? Do you prayerfully pursue God in the midst of your dreams?

Hebrews 11:1 says:

“Now faith is confidence in what you hope for and assurance about what we do not see”

I’ve come up with a slogan from this verse that is a great reminder:

Faith = Confidence + Hope

I used to think the “what we do not see” line from Hebrews had to do with this concept of eyes-closed faith. No longer. I have come to understand, it is with eyes wide open that we must confidently move in the direction of our dreams. However, there must remain a certain humility; to draw near to the Father as we walk.

God can move when eyes are closed, but when eyes are open and we’re prayerfully considering our steps, our path begins to take shape.

As you walk – regardless of the terrain – be confident in what you hope for. Confidence isn’t a reckless arrogance, it’s a humble pursuit.

At some point, you’ll look back on the road you’ve traversed and you’ll realize the end of the verse has taken shape.

Blessed assurance.


Question: How can you begin confidently taking steps in the direction you’d hope to go? What prayerful considerations need to be made through that process?


The fourth principle of Living Richly is 'Humble yourself with confidence.' I continue to see this principle take shape in the lives of others through this community and beyond. If you'd like to become more confident or if there's a dream your struggling with, check out my contact page to learn more about coaching. Additionally, you can join this mailing list for additional information to help you on your journey.


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5 Responses to The Great Debate Between Action and Faith

  1. Brenda Watkins September 28, 2013 at 7:48 am #

    Very insightful. Powerful words. It wouldn’t hurt any of us to hear them and put them to practice daily.

    • Matt Ham September 28, 2013 at 8:01 am #

      Thanks Brenda!

  2. Tammy Shaw September 28, 2013 at 8:38 am #

    Matt! Thank you for motivating me every morning. I am originally a very motivated individual but you add the perfect touches to the day to carry me through. My eyes are wide open and God has blessed you with this journey to encourage others to seek peace, faith and trust in every situation. Thank you for taking time 6 days a week to share your stories and rejoice. May you be blessed forever and ever my friend. I am very thankful to know you inside and out.

    • Matt Ham September 28, 2013 at 8:43 am #

      WOW Tammy! Thankful for you! Have an extra awesome weekend!


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